Friday, November 07, 2008

He Blogs, She Blogs On Twitter

Following our recent discussion about Twitter, Laura Christianson & Jim Rubart of wrote this guest post regarding how to get the most out of the program in terms of marketing. Take it away, Laura and Jim!

How to Set Reasonable Goals For Twitter

If you’re thinking about starting a blog—or enhancing the blog you already write—consider micro-blogging. Because micro-blogging services such as Twitter allow you only 140 characters per post, “tweeting” is a great way to practice writing tight and writing for a responsive audience.

But before you begin tweeting, you need to set goals for how Twitter will help you promote your writing. Think of it as creating a mini marketing plan. Here are some important questions to ask:

How will your Twitter user name (the URL that people click on) promote your brand?

Do you want to use a descriptive name that matches your business name?

HeBlogsSheBlogs -
BookHound -
MediaCoach -

Your first and last name?

MichaelHyatt -
Triciagoyer -
Terrywhalin -

Perhaps you’d rather smoosh together names, biz names—even locations:

Casseracom -
Mncahill -
Deegospel -

What picture will you use?

Twitter automatically posts a 48 x 48-pixel image next to each of your posts. In other words, the picture is teeny! Most people upload a semi-attractive headshot of themselves, which (hopefully) entices their followers to connect with them. Many businesses (such as use a company logo, because:

a) we’re ugly;
b) we can’t fit both of us in a 48 x 48 image; or
c) our logo promotes our brand better than a pin-sized picture of our faces

What color scheme will you choose?

Twitter lets you choose one of their pre-made themes, but why look like everyone else? Change the background and text colors so they match the color scheme of your Web site and/or blog. You do have a consistent color scheme for all your marketing materials, right?

And please, please do not use light type over a dark background. It’s too hard to read, especially for us old fogies!

How will you personalize your sidebar?

Twitter offers limited options for customizing your profile page, but you can use photo-editing software to create a skinny sidebar image (ours is 115 x 599 pixels) that promotes your latest book(s), products, services, etc. Every little bit of cross-promotion helps.

How will you balance personal vs. business tweets?

We recommend 80 percent business, 20 percent personal. Set up a Twitterfeed
account so links to your blog posts automatically feed to your Twitter profile.

Attempt to tweet three times during your workday (it only takes a minute—really). Two of those tweets should relate to your business; the third one can be about whatever strikes your fancy.

How will you interact with your followers?

As with all social networks, if you follow them, they’ll follow you. Once you’ve developed a following, it’s easy to engage your fellow tweeps by posing a question, commenting on their tweets, or direct messaging them.

Warning: Building and nurturing a following can become addicting, so set firm limits on your networking time. We suggest taking five minutes a couple of times per day to skim tweets and interact with other tweeters.

Will Twitter truly help you build your writing business? Most definitely—particularly if you strategize and set realistic goals.

So what are you waiting for? Create your Twitter marketing plan right now. And let us know how it goes.

Laura Christianson & Jim Rubart co-founded, a Seattle-area company that helps individuals and businesses maximize their writing, blogging, and marketing. Submit a comment to this post before Sun., Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. (Pacific)--and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of their new e-book, Blogophobia Conquered (retail $19.99). The winner will be announced on Monday's post.


Nicole said...

I'm game.

Grady Houger said...

I wonder if twitter has more active participation than blogging or facebook; where people might know if you but only stop by to read occasionally.

Karen said...

Thanks for adding to my learning curve. Not only does Twitter add to my marketing capabilities, it makes me look like a real cool grandma in the eyes of my kids.

BousMama said...

Great information! Thanks for the chance to win the book too, it would be a great asset as I work to develop my blogs.

Dena Dyer said...

Great stuff, HBSB! I always learn something from you...and get inspired to take my blogging/marketing to the next level. :)